Personalized Medicine Leads to Better Outcomes for Patients with Cancer

In a meta-analysis of hundreds of clinical trials involving thousands of patients, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that therapeutic approaches using precision medicine, which emphasizes the use of individual genetics to refine cancer treatment, showed improved response and longer periods of disease remission, even in phase I trials.

The findings are published in the June 6, 2016 issue of JAMA Oncology. … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

The senior author of the report in JAMA Oncology is Razelle Kurzrock, MD, Director of the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Clinical Trials Office at Moores Cancer Center.

Dr. Kurzrock is Chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology in the Department of Medicine.

SDSC/UCSD Study Uncovers Mechanisms of Cancer-Causing Mutations

Computer modeling leads to more precise targeting of therapies —

Researchers at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, have described for the first time the molecular mechanism of cancer development caused by well-known “resistance” mutations in the gene called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).

While these mutations were known for quite a long time, the question as to why they cause cancer or make some drugs ineffective was still not answered.

The study, called “Molecular Determinants of Drug-Specific Sensitivity for Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Exon 19 and 20 Mutants in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer,” and published online in the journal Oncotarget, demonstrates how computer modeling of EGFR mutations found in lung cancer can elucidate their molecular mechanism of action and consequently optimize the selection of therapeutic agents to treat patients. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom


Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

Dr. Razelle Kurzrock

The senior investigator in the study was Razelle Kurzrock, MD. Dr. Kurzrock is Chief of the Division of Hematology & Oncology; Murray Professor of Medicine; Senior Deputy Director, Clinical Science and
Director, Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy and Clinical Trials Office at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Lyudmila A. Bazhenova, MD, associate professor of medicine and leader of the Lung Cancer Unit Team at the Moores Cancer Center, was also an investigator in the study.

Read the study report (UC San Diego only)

Sanford Shattil, MD, Stepping Down as Hematology-Oncology Chief; Remains Fellowship Program Director

Announced August 21, 2014, by Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD, Helen M. Ranney Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine

Sanford Shattil, MD

Sanford Shattil, MD

Please join the Department of Medicine in extending a sincere thank you to Sanford (Sandy) Shattil, MD, who will be stepping down as chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology after ten years of service. He will be succeeded by Dr. Razelle Kurzrock.

Dr. Shattil will remain the director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program.

Dr. Shattil earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in 1964 and went on to receive his medical degree from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine in Chicago in 1968.

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

Wolfgang H. Dillmann, MD

He completed his residency in internal medicine on the Harvard Medical Service of the Boston City Hospital and a fellowship in hematology at Boston City Hospital’s storied Thorndike Memorial Laboratory.

After a stint in the U.S. Public Health Service in San Francisco, he moved to the University of Pennsylvania in 1973, where he rose through the ranks to become professor of medicine and chief of hematology-oncology.

Razelle Kurzrock, MD

Razelle Kurzrock, MD

In 1995 he moved to The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, and in 2004 he was recruited to become division chief and professor of medicine at UCSD.

During Dr. Shattil’s tenure as the chief of hematology-oncology at UCSD, he has overseen major growth in the patient care, research and educational missions of the division. His vision has been to foster the careers of faculty and fellows in the context of all aspects of the division’s multiple missions and to work with other leaders at the Moores Cancer Center in expanding clinical services in a patient-centric manner.

Dr. Shattil will remain the department’s director of the Hematology-Oncology Fellowship Training Program, a role in which he has served since 2008. He will also continue his long-standing NIH-supported research program into basic and translational aspects of integrin adhesion receptor function for which he is recognized internationally, and he will maintain his clinical hematology practice, both in the inpatient setting and at Moores.

Please join me in expressing our sincere appreciation to Dr. Sandy Shattil for bringing his talents and expertise to both the Division of Hematology-Oncology and the Department of Medicine. We look forward to his continued service.

Molecular Tumor Board Helps in Advanced Cancer Cases

With accelerating development of personalized cancer treatments matched to a patient’s DNA sequencing, proponents say frontline physicians increasingly need help to maneuver through the complex genomic landscape to find the most effective, individualized therapy.

In a paper published in the May 5 online issue of The Oncologist, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center detail their experience evaluating 34 patients between December 2012 and June 2013 using a molecular tumor board – a new type of advisory group comprised of multidisciplinary experts, including those in the fields of tumor genetics, basic science and bioinformatics. … Read the full story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

UC San Diego-Human Longevity Inc. Agreement Seeks to Accelerate Medical Science

Thousands of patient genomes expected to fuel diverse medical research, beginning with cancer

The new collaborative research agreement between Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) and the University of California, San Diego, announced today, represents a significant and necessary step in efforts to research and translate the potential of the human genome into novel and real treatments and therapies able to change and improve the human condition.

“This agreement brings together the resources of two entities that, in combination, may ultimately help improve countless lives,” said David A. Brenner, MD, vice chancellor of health sciences at UC San Diego and dean of the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “HLI aims to bring leading-edge thinking in genomics technologies. UC San Diego boasts some of the world’s finest researchers and physicians working at places like the Moores Cancer Center. Together, we will collaborate to marshal the people, the tools and the resources to really make a difference in human health.” … Read the full story from the UC San Diego News Center

$1 Million Gift from Joan and Irwin Jacobs Supports New Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy

A leadership gift of $1 million from San Diego philanthropists Joan and Irwin Jacobs will help UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center change how cancer is treated by supporting the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, a newly established center headed by Razelle Kurzrock, M.D. The UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is one of just 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, and the only one in the San Diego region. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Razelle KurzrockPhysician-scientist Razelle Kurzrock, MD, is Senior Deputy Director for Clinical Science at the Moores Cancer Center. There, she directs the Clinical Trials Office as well as the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy.

Kurzrock is professor of medicine and vice chief of the Division of Hematology-Oncology at UC San Diego.